Blog

Upvote these proposals for new features

ZEEF wouldn’t evolve in the right direction if we didn’t listen to our user’s feedback. We have been collecting many ideas and now is time for you to decide which ones should we take into account. Have a look at our forum and upvote your favorite proposals for new features.

Long lists appear contracted by default on a ZEEF page, showing just the first 8 links. Some of you have requested to be able to show these lists opened. So what about enable the curator to decide which lists appear contracted/ expanded in the page? Upvote

Screenshot block contracted uservoice 

You would be able to select and delete more than one link at once. This little adjust would be especially handy for large pages. Upvote

3. Page Sectioning

Being able to add subcategories in a page in order to better organize the different lists. Upvote

4. Horizontal widget

Customize your widget in a horizontal format. This way it can be easily adapted to any kind of website. Upvote

Horizontal widget

Users and visitors would be able to upvote/ downvote links inside a list. We can open a discussion in this matter. Would you consider their votes to re-arrange your own ranking, or would you rather see them on a separate ranking? Upvote

Upvoting

6. Organize lists using a grid on edit mode

This could be a quick sketch of a very simple way to organize lists while you edit your page. If you have any other suggestion about how a grid can look like, don’t hesitate to comment on this post. Upvote

ejemplo grid

7. Personalized emails/newsletters from the curator to their followers

As a curator, you care about helping other people find filtered information about the topic you like the most. Every week, the ZEEF Team sends an email with your updates to all your followers. Why not sending a personal message instead? You would have the chance to explain the new links you added, why you changed a ranking, or ask for feedback in a more personal way. Upvote

 

If you have more ideas don’t hesitate to add them to our forum or reach us through our Feedback button in ZEEF.com. Let’s improve ZEEF together!

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4 Tips to gain traffic in ZEEF

Once your ZEEF page is published, it is time to share it with the world. There are multiple channels, many different audiences to reach and many formulas to attract potential visitors.

Consequently, it is not always easy to figure out what’s the most effective way to share your content. Besides our Sharing Guide, we would love to lend you an extra hand! Here are 4 simple tips that have proved to be useful for us and some of our top curators to gain more visibility:

1. Mention the Twitter accounts of the users/companies that appear on your list

 They will be likely to retweet it to their followers. Give Twitter a try it!

2. Post your page in Facebook groups about the topic

It’s one of the easiest and most direct ways to share your page. Everyone appreciates useful information, don’t hesitate to explore Facebook in search of the perfect group to contribute to.

 

There are endless Communities about a large range of topics in Google + , therefore you can easily find your target audience. Besides, linking your page in one of these groups helps to rank higher on Google Search.

4. Embed a list on your blog

It is also a great idea to suggest other bloggers to include it on their websites as a Widget.

These steps are a good way to start receiving traffic in your page. Everyone will appreciate that you share your quality content. For instance, Backpacking Europe gained hundreds of views after being shared in Facebook groups and Google+ Communities about traveling.

As a concrete example, look what a great start had CryEngine by Arjan Pronk right after shared with the 2000+ members of CryEngine Developers Facebook group. Even not being a large group, the page received attention and this was clearly reflected in its statistics. It is very easy to measure your performance, just have a quick look at Top Traffic Sources in Dashboard> Statistics. This way you can ponder which media is the most adequate to share your page.

Remember to choose relevant communities and be natural, sharing is caring! If you’d like to learn more about how to showcase your page in Social Media, check out our Sharing Guide.

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These pages reached 10k views, why didn’t yours?

I have added one point to the guidelines, and I think this is the most important thing the curators should think about:

Be useful. ZEEF is not only for collecting the links, but also for helping people searching for information. If you decided to create a page – think first: “Why would people use it? What is the added value of the page? What problems will it solve?”

Unfortunately, there is an amount of pages on ZEEF which do not bring any added value to the visitors and to the platform in general. The reasons for this may be:

  • The curators do not really understand the point of creating ZEEF pages.
  • It is hard to find and filter useful information.
  • The curators get excited about it in the beginning, but then lose their energy and interest and abandon their pages.

According to my research, 80% of the curators need less than 1 day to create and publish their pages, and this does not always lead to the high-quality results. Creation of ZEEF page is never a matter of couple of hours – in order to collect all the relevant links, you have to be ready to make a real research on the topic!

On ZEEF there are some pages which have great added value. These are the ones I am proud to promote, being sure that people will thank me for such a great source. These are Web Design Tools, Online Collaboration Tools, Game Development and so on. These pages contain all the relevant information about the subject, and they look like this:

Wardrobe-clean

How organized ZEEF page looks like

It does not even matter what kind of clothes there are: let them be cheap and non-fashioned – I would still love to have wardrobe like this.

These pages are clean, organized, accurate, easy to use, and they are worth to be bookmarked. And most important: these page always have great statistics! People love them, share them and use them.

However, unfortunately, 80% of ZEEF pages look like this:

Wardrobe-messy

How non-organized ZEEF page looks like

The sad truth is that there may be cool, expensive and high-quality brands in this wardrobe. But it is almost impossible to find. We are lazy to search for the content. Instead, we want the links to be served on a silver platter, and even though the curators of ZEEF pages organize their links, they still make it too complicated.

For example, the page Digital Culture looks like a nice page, it has a great content and the curator spent a lot of time and resources creating it, but:

  • It’s easy to get lost, because there is no clear structure;
  • Some of the pictures are distracting;
  • The links are hard to find and do not make me feel like clicking on them;
  • Plus, it is not very clear what content these links present.

So, what is a good page?

  • It provides tools/sources for solving users’ problems (e.g. online collaboration tools).
  • It provides the best places, best products, best tutorials, best anything people look for. It can never be 60 “best” links! If you make a list of all the shops – do not call it “best shops”. And if you want to make a list of best shops – do not put all the existing links in the list. Choose top 6-10 – this is what your visitors expect from you.
  • It has everything related to the topic, but nothing extra.
  • It has short and readable links – and they should “force” the visitor to click on them.
  • It is structured and not too long (has less than 30 blocks).

How to increase the quality of the pages?

Plain information, texts, reviews and other articles are very easy to find in Google. For ZEEF there is no point competing with giants, so why to look for texts on ZEEF if we have Google for it? Instead, we should collect tools, places, shops, tutorials, books, programs, apps, cources, solutions – something that is used by people day after day, and something people would even agree to pay for.

The aim of ZEEF pages is to help people by collecting the best solutions for their problems (not just information) and by presenting them in a nice way. Thus, before creating the page, first of all, think about the benefits of using your page and it’s informativeness, structure, and names of the blocks and the links. If you already have your page on ZEEF – read the Guidelines and update your page right now!

We do not filter the information anymore, we collect the best tools and solutions to the problems people face!

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UX improvements for curators and more

This release we focused on streamlining lots of existing features and we did some big jobs behind the scenes.

2015.4_blocksCurate improvements

Some highlights for our curators are the possibility to always display a description above a list of links and a simplification of the types of blocks. Links can now be copied using the link menu. Also, by popular demand, we’ve made dragging and dropping of blocks much smoother.

Social

Social SharingCurating links is great, but without sharing who’s going to appreciate all that work. So, we’ve made our sharing buttons simpler and added buttons for e.g. HackerNews and Pinterest as well. When you share a page we even added a higher quality image. Next to that we’ve added the ability to connect your social profiles, making it easier for visitors to verify who you are.

Other changes

  • Moved the whole platform to the Google Cloud
  • Creating image and text blocks not possible anymore
  • Dates and times are displayed simpler
  • Less information needed before you can publish
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Follow

Follow topics you like and never miss any update.
Follow feature

If you come across an interesting topic you can click on the follow button to start receiving updates. Every week you will receive an email with an update about the links that have been added to the page.

Benefits

  • Weekly updates about your favorite topic
  • Follow any topics you like
  • Stay up to date about the latest developments

How to use

  1. 1. Select the topic
  2. 2. Click on Follow
  3. 3. Login or signup
  4. 4. Receive weekly email with all updates

Are you excited about contributing? Start making your own lists on ZEEF and join our mission in building the largest human edited link directory.

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zeef research

Top 14 tips for creating best curated page

We succeeded to find the main factors which make people continue using curated content in the future as a result of research project we have recently started.

These factors are:

  1. Agreement with the ranking of the links in the page.
  2. High level of trust in the curator of the page.

We have also developed Guidelines with 14 tips for creating high-quality pages appreciated by people, thus increasing content quality on ZEEF pages, user recognition and traffic.

We thank everyone who participated in the research and took our survey – you helped us a lot, and we’ve got very inspiring results to share with you.

Agreement with the ranking

The criteria taken into account for establishing the ranking are critical. If two persons base their rankings on different criteria (e.g. price of products in the shop and distance of the shop from the customer), they will receive two completely different lists. Therefore, in order to make two parties agree with each other, it is important to use the same ranking criteria. However, the results of our research showed that ranking criteria do not influence the level of agreement of ZEEF visitors, because the visitors come to ZEEF to find the information. Thus, they do not have enough knowledge to judge which link is the best. But this is not a reason to relax! The visitors have their expectations about ranking criteria, and the curator should always take them into account.

Trust in ZEEF

Because ZEEF is a curated platform, the level of trust in ZEEF mainly depends on the level of trust in a curator of a particular page. Interesting that such aspects as how and why a curator makes up the lists do not influence the perception of the quality by the visitors. In any case, majority of them tend to see what they want to see: a high-quality, recently updated page with ranked lists of links which is made by a professional for the sake of helping people to find the best and most relevant sources of information. This can be explained by trustful and high quality design of the pages created in ZEEF. However, personal information about the curator, profile picture, structure of the page and quality of the content in general are very important for establishing trust level of the visitors.

Guidelines

In total, there were no problems with the visitors’ perception of ZEEF pages, but we would like to show our curators what their expectations are, and how they think ZEEF pages are created. In a new Guidelines page you will see 14 tips on where to find the links, how to maintain the page after it is published, what information to include about yourself, how to rank the links, etc. We recommend to read these guidelines to all our old and new curators, regardless how many pages you have already published.

Read top 14 tips for createng best page

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Widget

Embed your top lists of links on your website and display relevant links next to your blog. You’re able to earn money if links are promoted with TIP or affiliate links.

Widget feature image

Benefits

  • CTR up to 4x compared to AdSense
  • Up-to-date lists of links
  • Performance per links

How to use


You can search or create a list of links. Simply click on the embed icon ‘<>” in the list, customise and copy-paste the code into your website.

  1. Create list
  2. Press the embed icon <>
  3. Customize the design
  4. Copy-paste the embed code into your website

Examples of widgets


Start making lists, embed lists into your blog and drive more revenue.

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gza winners optimized

And the Golden ZEEF Award goes to…

This week marked the end of the Golden ZEEF Award contest! In all, 49 pages from 42 people participated in the contest with topics ranging from Web Development to Bellydancing and  Feminism to  Backpacking Australia.

We’re happy to announce the two winners of the Golden ZEEF Award contest! It was a close finish, but the winners for each category are…

Page Quality Score Model (Based on our algorithm ranking)
Education Apps for Kids by Katie Willams!
Participant’s vote (Based on the human judgement of participants in the contest)
Awesome Websites by Daniel Alessi!

The ultimate aim of the Golden ZEEF Award was to test our page quality model which was executed by participants sharing their ZEEF pages with the rest of the world.

The quality of ZEEF pages are ranked on factors such as views, clicks, thanks, shares, follows, suggests. These statistics are then calculated together in our algorithm which can then let our system assign quality rankings to pages. To test the validity of our quality score we asked participants to share and promote their pages to see whether their high quality statistics correlated with the human judgement of the pages in the contest.

The contest really opened our eyes (and hopefully the participants’!) on what truly defines quality and also the best ways to share ZEEF pages.

So why did the page with most views and clicks not win? Our algorithm gives a lot of importance to Shares and Thanks statistics, since they indicate how much visitors value the page content. It is true that the amount of traffic is a relevant factor to take into account, but doesn’t necessarily talk about the page’s quality. As a result, Educational Apps for Kids has a higher position in the Quality Score Ranking.

To all the competing pages, thank you very much for participating in the Golden ZEEF Award. With your participation, we’ve received lots of valuable input and feedback which will help us define our Page Quality Score model. You will all receive a golden ZEEF Award medal on your page and our winners (Daniel & Katie) will receive the exclusive Golden ZEEF Award badge on their winning ZEEF pages plus some awesome prizes.

On behalf of the whole ZEEF team thanks so much for your time and effort in helping us develop a website where you can find quality information through people.profille picture

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Presentation Bar Tab

Building Bar Tab at TNW Hack Battle 2015

I recently competed in TNW Hack Battle 2015, part of the annual TNW conference.

As the non-technical startup Founder, of Party with a Local (a free app that connects travellers and locals that want to party), you could say my first ‘hack’ was getting accepted in the Hack Battle in the first place.

A bit of backstory on that – I’ve fairly recently moved to working full-time on Party with a Local and very recently recruited 2 new developers to work on it with me. I came across the TNW Hack Battle and saw it as a great opportunity to enter us as a team – so we could work together, really get to know each other’s way of working, and build something cool in a couple of days.

You had to apply to be accepted into the Hack Battle. I knew my devs would qualify as they had relevant experience and are true hackers, but I had to be slightly ‘creative’ with my application. I said I was a ‘Startup Founder / Web-based Front-end Developer with knowledge of APIs like Facebook, Google Maps & Foursquare’. This is in fact true, but my technical knowledge of these things is pretty limited, and my coding skills don’t go far beyond HTML & CSS! What I lack in hacking skills, I think I make up for with a hustling mentality, plus I love bringing new ideas to life and working with a committed team. I also enjoy the rush of working under time pressure, which you need when trying to build and launch something in 2 days.

Anyway, I crafted a nice application demonstrating my enthusiasm, and said I was entering with the other guys, as a team. We all ended up getting accepted via Appsterdam and one of the API partners of the Hack Battle – getDNS. Thanks for that guys!

So our Hack Battle team consisted of Jaideep (back-end hacker) and Vinod (very back-end hacker) and me (hustler). We recruited a 4th team member from Brazil, who had also been accepted via getDNS. He happened to be more of a real front-end guy than me was a handy edition to our team (our team’s hipster?).

Bar Tab iconOne of the ideas I’d had for a while and was hoping to bring to life at the Hack Battle, was ‘Bar Tab’. This was inspired by WanderTab and Product Hunt’s Chrome extension, which as well as being Chrome extensions, are literally extensions of another product, something that Ryan Hoover of Product Hunt calls “productized marketing”. This basically refers to apps or sites which are tangential to one’s core business, but which can be an effective way to reach new users (or keeping your product front of mind to attract more daily active users to your core product). I thought this could be a nice add-on to our core Party with a Local app.

The idea behind Bar Tab was simple – to show cool bars with every new tab that you open in Google Chrome. The problem this solves is – how do you discover bars in your city? There are so many great bars in every city, with new ones popping up all the time. How do you keep up – read newspaper reviews or long Blog posts? See which bars your friends like on Facebook? Just happen to walk past a cool looking bar? We think discovering great bars shouldn’t be that complicated. This is also a problem our app users can relate to – they are curious and looking to find cool new places (as well as to meet new people).

So the goal of Bar Tab would be to make finding great bars easy and inspiring – every time you open a new tab you would be presented with a beautiful image of a curated bar with some key info about it: bar name, a link to bar’s website, when it’s open, how to get there, (what else do you really need to know about a bar before going there?) as well as options to refresh to see a new bar, share a bar on Facebook or Twitter, and suggest a new bar (which would also have paid options for bars, events and brands).

Before diving in to building this, the whole point of the Hack Battle was to hack using the partner APIs, so we had to see whether we could utilise any of them first. So at the beginning of the battle, we spent a lot of time as a team discussing how we could best use the getDNS API (seeing as they were the ones who invited us). It was proving really challenging for us to create anything very creative or fun with getDNS beyond a bland DNS security product, let alone Bar Tab. We were a bit stuck.

ZEEF APIWe were very happy when ZEEF presented their ZEEF API docs on stage, and we saw the perfect partner for helping create our ideal product of Bar Tab. So we started to hack…

I first curated a list of cool bars I knew in Amsterdam, whilst the devs looked at the possibilities of the partner APIs. I mocked-up how I thought Bar Tab should look, which our front-end guy started to design. Next I created a ZEEF account (very easy with Twitter). I then built a page on ZEEF with ‘blocks’ that included the name of the bar, a link to the bar’s website, as well as a link to a nice photo of the bar (we found photos that were either Creative Commons or from the bar themselves where possible). The ZEEF guys helped us best structure the ZEEF page and blocks for what we wanted to build.

Jaideep then hooked up the API with the ZEEF REST-based API. We made calls to the APIs and got the results from the page I created. The URI mechanism is really easy and did not take time to populate the results to our database. The next task for us will be to schedule jobs on the back-end to fetch information about new bars as we add them. The search feature of ZEEF is also useful, we want to explore it and hook with our APIs. Jaideep also found a couple of little things that could be improved on the API, and the ZEEF guys appreciated the feedback.

We still really wanted to utilise the getDNS API, especially seeing as they had invited us. The most obvious use of the getDNS API is to check whether website is DNS secure (DNSSEC) or not. So, we decided to show whether each bar on Bar Tab we are showing in a tab is DNS secure, DNS insecure, a bogus website, or unknown. We symbolise each of these 4 possible DNS statuses on Bar Tab with a different symbol next to the link to the website. This gives users some confidence and choice about whether to access a website or not.

We used Python bindings for the getDNS API. First, we create a context, an opaque object which describes the environment within which a DNS query is performed. Secondly, a query is performed with extensions, a python dictionary, where key “dnssec_return_status” is set to getdns.EXTENSION_TRUE. In short, once we get the bar using the ZEEF API, we do DNSSEC query for the Domain name and check the “dnssec_status” in the response. This dnssec_status is shown to users in a user readable format (with the symbols). Not the most creative use of their API we admit, but it was good we could use it in some way.

Other tools we used to build Bar Tab:

In true Hack Battle style, we hustled to get it done and didn’t sleep much for 2 days and we literally went live with Bar Tab on the Chrome Store five minutes before our final pitch (completed in the line to speak)! As a result my pitch was not the most polished and I didn’t emphasise enough that the product was actually live to download from the Chrome Store right then (& had a business model built in too).

Bar Tab

Whilst we didn’t build the most advanced product, or utilize the partner APIs in super creative ways, we achieved our goal of hacking something cool together in a few days, and as a bonus it was something that looked nice and was related to Party with a Local. I’m not sure how many other teams launched a live to the public product (with a business model). I was really proud of the team, how we worked together and especially how we hustled to get shit done to go live just in time.

We didn’t come away with the grand prize, but it was a great experience for the team, and we did win a Raspberry Pi from ZEEF which is cool (my girlfriend was very excited when I told her we’d won a Raspberry Pi, but disappointed when I told her it wasn’t actually a ‘Pie’ :-P). We also celebrated our efforts with quite a few beers at the end, which is customary with Team Party with a Local.

So Bar Tab is live, but it isn’t finished. We plan on expanding it to 9 more cities before really announcing we are live (probably on Product Hunt), and if there’s enough traction, we’ll actively pursue the business side of it and get bars and events to advertise. If not, we’ll just use it as a nice add-on and extra marketing channel for Party with a Local.

A big thanks to TNW Hack Battle for organising a great event and our API partners, especially ZEEF. We look forward to developing Bar Tab further and entering the next Hack Battle!

Get Bar Tab and discover great bars with every new tab.

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Suggest links

Suggest links to lists and receive recognition for your contribution.

Suggest link thumbnail

If you notice that a link is missing in a list, you are able to suggest your link. Simply click on the ‘+’ icon below the list and suggest your link. The curator will review your suggestion. If your link is approved your profile will be displayed behind your suggested link. Everybody can see that you have contributed in making this a quality lists of links.

Benefits

  • Share your knowledge
  • Contribute to the community
  • Gain recognition

Suggest lists recognition

How to use

In three simple steps you can help the curator with finding quality links.

Suggest link flow final

Are you excited about contributing? Start making your own lists on ZEEF and join our mission in building the largest human edited link directory.

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